How Do ABS Brakes Work

How do ABS brakes work? After extensive testing, ABS brakes revealed that a vehicle will stop much faster if the tires are allowed to turn during a panic stop as opposed to locking up and sliding. Another distinct advantage is in yaw control. A vehicle is much more susceptible to spinning or loss of control when the wheels stop turning. The ABS system is designed to prevent wheel lockup on deceleration.

All vehicles retain the main brake master cylinder, however, there is another system in front of the master cylinder, which houses a cylinder for each brake. The brake fluid pressure travels from the master cylinder to this ABS solenoid block. To the backside of the ABS block is attached the ABS computer. Each wheel on the vehicle has a wheel speed sensor. This is a hall effect sensor and the rotors have a star wheel attached that passes in front of this sensor. The ABS computer receives the single generated from each wheel and compares the speed, looking for variations. When the computer sees a wheel slowing down in the process of locking up and causing a skid, it releases some of the pressure to the disc brake to allow the wheel to keep turning. This can be felt in the brake pedal on a hard stop in the form of a shudder.

In the event that the ABS system fails, the brakes revert to normal brakes without the ABS function. If a wheel sensor, computer, solenoid block or pressure failure occurs, the ABS warning light will illuminate on the dash warning of the failure. In most cases, but not all, when there is a problem with the ABS system, the wheel sensor is the fault. The majority of the time one sensor has failed or has an irregular signal.

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